2010 Toyota Corolla: Nice car, tough competition

24 Sep 2010 | 1,938 views | No Comment
  Boxy, sexy, lavish and cool, small cars are big these days.
But in the midst of it all, one small car that really hasn’t changed that much in awhile just keeps right on going, winning friends, never mind all that trendy stuff that other companies are doing.
   We’re talking about none other than the humble little Toyota Corolla, a sales champ for years and probably the most important car in Toyota’s lineup behind Camry and maybe Prius. No, the Corolla isn’t glamorous or sexy or curvaceous. Attractive yes. Well--built, you got it. Economical? Can we talk? Better than in your wildest dreams, kiddo. Try one tank per week with hundreds of miles of driving. But Corolla is no showboat. And that may prove to be a bit of a problem when going up against Chevy’s new Cruze, Ford’ fabulous new Focus, the sexy new Hyundai Elantra, and old faithful, Honda Civic, itself up for renewal soon. Why does this car win so many friends? Its reliable. It does it all well without excess and fanfare. It’s peppy and actually fun to drive, quiet as it’s kept. And then that gas mileage. You drive and drive and drive, and that little needle barely budges on the gas gauge. We’re talking 26 miles per gallon city and 34 highway, with annual fuel costs estimated at $1,346 based on 15,000 miles at $2.60 a gallon for the 1.8 liter four cylinder engine. $15,450 is the asking price for a base manual Corolla to start, and $16,250 for the base automatic equipped Corolla. The interior is quite nicely appointed, and this wasn’t even the top of the line model. It was an LE, a mid-level model. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you; cars the size of Corolla have been upgraded quite a bit across the board because of smaller cars like the Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit that have taken over the entry level market. That’s necessitated some realignment in pricing, equipment and content on bigger compacts. Standard equipment is reasonable, with a four speed automatic, vehicle stability control and traction control, air, power windows and locks, tilt/telescoping steering wheel. cruise, and lot of other features. Yet, its competition either are better equipped or have a wider variety of up to date options like the Ford Sync system on the Fiesta. And while Corolla soldiers on with a four speed automatic, both Fiesta and Chevy’s Cruze have six speed automatics. That brings up the biggest problem for the Corolla: already, with a body design that’s only a year or two old, Corolla now needs some refreshing, and quickly if it is to hold its place in the in the marketplace against its competition. The interior also needs updating with fresher looking materials. Another source of a problem is the loose, unconnected feeling of the steering system. Los of corrective gestures are needed to keep the car headed in the right track. Still Corolla offers quite a bit to consumers and remains highly ranked, but others are catching up-- and quickly.  

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